To the hundreds of students who have filled my class-rooms and have urged me for these thirty
years to write my theology for their use, and for that generation of followers whom they may
hereafter teach, this work is lovingly dedicated by the author.
Another Systematic Theology What courage akin to rashness it required to think of such a thing!
But then, "There is a Divinity that shapes our ends, Rough hew them as we will."
Some things we are impelled to do by a power above our own. A Divine hand guides us in our
meditation and study. Providence cooperates. Men impress us with an abiding influence.
Sixty-four years ago I met the mighty Finney, a king among men, and sat four college years under
his ministry. A mind that he would not stir to the depths would be a marvel of mental lethargy.
Associated with him was a faculty of strong independent thinkers, President James A. Fairchild,
Dr. John Morgan, Professor of Hebrew, Dr. Henry Cowles, the spiritual commentator, and Dr.
Judson Smith, afterward secretary of the American Board of Foreign Missions.
I then went to Yale sixty years ago, and met President Woolsey, just retiring, and President Noah
Porter, and Timothy Dwight, the Greek exegete, afterward President, and Dr. George P. Fisher,
the noble Church Historian, and Dr. Samuel Harris, Professor of Theology. These men were
nobly endowed intellectually, and ranked high in scholarship, and were inspiring to a youth who
was ambitious to be a soul-winner.
I began to buy theologies and read critically. Strangely enough all my first theologies were strongly
Calvinistic, and that feature of them repelled me. I began to have revivals while yet in college, and
I wanted a system of doctrines that were directly calculated to bring salvation to the lost. I was
not seeking popularity or big pulpits, hut usefulness and men. I wanted a practical Biblical
theology that would win souls and not delude them by flattery, nor drive them into infidelity, nor
drug them by opiates into a sleep of death.
Born and trained in a Congregational home and nursed by Congregational churches, and educated
at Oberlin and Yale, I carried a very distinct stamp. But reading widely in twenty-five authors of
systematic theology, an inquisitive, honest and teachable mind might get some new light and some
deeper insight into Divine truth. I do not think I ever had a Methodist theology in my hand till I
was some years in my first pastorate. But God has His own way of training His teachers. Since
then I have owned and used ten Methodist theologies in the class-room teaching earnest inquiring
minds who do not think alike, This I have been doing for thirty-three years.
I do not make the slightest claim to originality. I am debtor to everybody. If the reader finds
anything excellent in this work, which I am sure he will, let him give all the praise to God, whose
Holy Spirit has guided me through the tangled maze of conflicting human speculations to the truth
as it is in Christ Jesus, found in the infallible Word of God. I invent no hypotheses, and advocate
no fads. My sole aim has been to give the world a theology that wholly glorifies the character of
the ever adorable God, and is best calculated to bring lost and sinful men in glad surrender to their
blessed Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.
II. Sources of theology—Nature and Revelation. |
False sources—Creeds, Tradition, Mysticism, Reason, Christian consciousness, philosophy. |
III. Theology can be systematized. |
IV. The method to be pursued in Systematic Theology. Pages
PART I. THEISM
A. Definitions of God. B. Origin of the idea of God. C. Corroborating proofs of theism. I.
Ontological argument. II. The Cosmological argument. III. The Teleological argument. IV. The
Anthropological argument. 1. Constitution of man as a whole. 2. Argument from the existence of
mind. 3. Argument from capacities and wants. 4. Argument from the moral nature. Pages 27-49.
THE EXISTENCE OF GOD
I. Atheism. II. Pantheism. III. Positivism. IV. Materialism. Pages 50-65.
ANTITHEISTIC THEORIES, CONCLUDED
V. Secularism. VI. Agnosticism. 1. Lost in their definitions. 2. God can be known. Pages 66-75.
PART II. THEOLOGY
Being of God. Attributes. Pages 79-81.
BEING AND PERSONALITY OF GOD
I. Revelation is necessary. 1. Human reason insufficient. 2. Knowledge of Divine unity lost. 3.
Knowledge of God's holiness lost. 4. Religion and morality divorced. 5. Assurance of immortality
lost. Man could not discover, 1. The pardon of sin. 2. On what grounds. 3. Whether God would
help him. 4. What is his destiny. II. Is a revelation probable? III. Is a supernatural revelation
possible? Pages 82-89.
I. The shallow sneer at miracles, but not the wise. II. Miracles admit of proof. Hume's argument
worthless. Prof. G. P. Fisher's reply. There are false miracles. Pages 90-100.
GENUINENESS AND AUTHENTICITY OF SCRIPTURES
I. The Old Testament. Seven evidences. II. The New Testament. Evidence from the fathers.
Catalogues of the New Testament books. Different versions. III. The integrity of the Scriptures. I.
The Canon—Made by degrees. Scriptures could not be corrupted—Variations in readings. Easily
explained. IV. The Authenticity of Scriptures. Leslie's four rules. Applied to miracles. Michaelis'
tests of a spurious book. Pages 101-116.
REVELATION AND INSPIRATION
Revelation and Inspiration defined. I. The proof of inspiration. II. The extent of inspiration.
Theories of inspiration, Plenary theory. Verbal theory. Essential inspiration. Dynamical theory.
Moral inspiration. III. The degree of Inspiration. 1. Superintendence. 2. Elevation. 3. Suggestions.
4. Mechanical inspiration. IV. Difficulties and objections. Discrepancies. Inaccurate quotations.
Closing remarks. Pages 117-135.
AUTHORITY OF SCRIPTURES
I. Miracles. 2. Prophecy. Jesus foretold. 3. Internal evidence, 4. Harmony with nature. 5.
Remedial. 6. Meets test of Conscience. 7. Teaches perfect morality. 8. Highest inspiration to man.
9. Stimulates faculties. 10. Ennobles man. 11. Restrains him. 12. Redeems. 13. Empowers. 14.
Blessed influence. Pages 136447.
I. Its Fountain. II. Its underlying purpose. III. Their methods and ruling hypotheses. Brazen
assumption of a monopoly of scholarship. Their disagreements. Pages 148-171.
HIGHER CRITICISM CONTINUED
IV. Results. Infidelity and immorality in schools and in pulpits. Doctrinal results in Germany.
Spiritual effects. Germany. England. United States. V. Eight fallacies of the critics. Overthrown by
Archaeology. The Bible vindicated against the infidel critics. The most dangerous infidels of all the
Christian centuries. Pages 172-203.
THE ATTRIBUTES OF GOD
Classification. Natural and Moral. Hodge's classification. Miley's. I. Omniscience. Errors. II.
Divine sensibility. 1. Holiness. 2. Justice. 3. Love of God. 4. Mercy. 5. Truth. III. Omnipotence.
DIVINE PREDICABLES. NOT DISTINCTLY ATTRIBUTES
I. Eternity. Dr. Charles Hodge, "With God duration is an eternal now." Dr. Miley's "There is no
such thing." Wakefield, "Contradicts Scripture." Fairchild: "No finite thought to eternal now."
Succession of time is a rational necessity with God as with us. II. Unity of God. The only
self-existent One. Whatever the Trinity implies must be consistent with unity of being. Evidence of
divine unity. 1. Metaphysical argument. 2. Evidences in creation. 3. No rational requirement of
more than one God. III. Omnipresence of God. It means His existence everywhere by His
essential being. He fills all space. Everywhere equally present. Miley in a long argument denies:
God's personality is confined to one place: only by His knowledge and power He reaches all. 1.
The Scriptures and theologians are against Dr. Miley. 2. Wherever God's power creates or works
there His essence must be. 3. So of His Providence. "He upholds all things," but is above all. IV.
The Immutability of God. This refers to His nature and moral principles. His character will not
change. He will govern with the steady hand of unerring wisdom. Pages
GOD IN TRINITY
I. The Unitarians sneer—"Three Gods". No contradiction between Unity and Trinity. Trinity in
Scripture. Trinity in creeds. All divine attribute ascribed to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Errors
respecting trinity. 1. Sabellianism. 2. Arianism. 3. Socinianism. 4. Swedenborgianism. Illustrations
of trinity. A. The Son of God. I. Sonship. II. Deity of the Son. I. Titles. 2. Attributes. 3. Divine
works. 4. Worshiped. B. The Holy Spirit. I. Personality.
II. Deity of the Spirit. 1. Names. 2. Perfections. 3. Works. 4. Worshiped. Thus a Trinity. Pages
GOD IN CREATION
I. Theories of Origin of Universe. II. Intelligence in matter. III. Scriptural Doctrine. Immediate and
Mediate creation. The Inorganic era. The Organic era. IV. Evolution. 1. Naturalistic evolution. 2.
Theistic evolution. 3. Evolution unproved. Evidences against the theory, Biology gives no better
support than geology. Everything brings forth after its kind. The gulf of separation between man
and animals bridgeless. The greatest scientists against the theory. Virchow calls evolution clubs
'Bubble clubs." Hacekel's disgrace. Pages 259-295.
GOD IN PROVIDENCE
1. Affirmed in Bible. 2. Universal. 3. Absolute in matter. 4. Not changeless in matter. 5. Not
continuous creation. 6. An inference from power and wisdom of God. 7. Occasionalism. 8.
Providence and lower animals. 9. Providence and moral beings. 10. Part of His kingdom not
controlled by Omnipotence. Providence and sin. God does not foreordain whatsoever comes to
pass. Fairchild's words. 12. Providence and freedom. 13. Implied in personality of God. 14.
Infidelity objects to providence. Pages 206-311.
PART III. ANTHROPOLOGY
The Origin of Man: His Fall: Consequent Ruin of the Race.
ORIGIN AND UNITY OF MAN
I. The Origin of Man. Three theories. Miley on evolution. II. Time of Man's origin. 1. Wild
speculations of scientists. 2. No necessary conflict with the Bible. Bible genealogy and chronology
uncertain. Language variations and race variations. Unity of origin. Effects of climate. 3. Defence
of the view. Seven arguments. Pages 315-325.
I. Genesis story literal. II. Constituent nature of man, Dichotomic and Trichotomic. III. Primitive
man constituted as now. Suffering was possible. Perfect memory. IV. Bore the image of God. 1.
Intellect. 2. Sensibility. 3. Freedom of will. Question is, Is man a free moral agent? Consciousness
says, "yes." He is free in forming his choice, Pages 326-336.
MAN'S MORAL AGENCY
I. Schemes of Necessity. 1. Fatalism. 2. Mechanical theory. 3. Materialism. 4. Pantheism. 5.
Theory that refers everything to God. 6. Calvinistic doctrine of predestination and divine
sovereignty and monergism. 7. The Calvinistic doctrine that choice must be as the strongest
motive. II. President Edwards' theory. Edwards' errors. Miley's criticism. Finney's. Edwards'
untenable distinctions—Natural ability and moral ability, and natural and moral inability. Natural
ability is identical with freedom of the Will. III. Charles Hodge's doctrine. "Man has no power of
contrary choice." He must act according to the motives, inclination, character, etc. 'It is fixed from
all eternity how a man will act." His "certainty" is nothing but necessity and fatalism. Pages 33
THE TRUE THEORY OF MORAL FREEDOM
IV. The rational theory. 1. Motive defined. The choice not as the strongest motive. The will
determines the motive. 2. Nature of choice. 3. The true freedom. How man may differ from an
animal. Power of suspension of choice to have time for reflection. A matter of consciousness that
we have power over motive states. This makes a noble life possible. Conscience and moral
reason are realities. V. Proofs of free moral agency nine. VI. Irresistible inferences to be drawn. I.
There is no moral inability. 2. The term gracious ability" a mistake. Finney's strictures.
Unanswerable. Daniel Steele's matchless argument. Pages 356-375.
PRIMITIVE HOLINESS AND PROBATION
I. Nature of Adamic holiness. II. Proofs of primitive holiness. Mistakes of both Augustine and
Pelagius. III. Elements of primitive holiness. 1. Romish views. 2. True Doctrine. IV. The primitive
probation. 1 . Natural and reasonable. 2. Complete ability for obedience. 3. Why was sin
permitted? V. The probationary law. VI. The probation fair. Pages 3 76-382.
I. Circumstances of the fall. 1. Agency. 2. The method. 3. The penalty. The kind of death. 4.
Race-wide consequence. II. Man free to fall. III. How holy beings sin. IV. Why God permitted
the fall. The fall and redemption. V. The fall of angels involved the same principles. Pages
EFFECT OF THE FALL UPON THE RACE
I. Original Sin. The absurd doctrine of Imputation. Fairchild and Finney on Imputation Daniel
Steele. Leads to Antinomianism Fletcher's "Creed of Antinomians." Doctrine of Plymouth
Brethren. Depravity real. Finney's peculiar view of moral depravity. Depravity defined. Not
depravity but men make themselves sinners. Not "born sinners." No such thing as a sinful nature,
in the sense of being blameworthy. "The stronghold of Universalism," and of 'Calvinism."
Summary. Pages 392-406.
PROOFS OF NATIVE DEPRAVITY
I. Scripture. 2. Universal need of justification. 3. Universal need of regeneration. 4. Universal sin.
5. Universal tendency to sin. Efforts to deny depravity. Depravity is not guilt. Guilt defined. 6.
Universality of death. 7. Slow progress of gospel agencies. Cheap denial of depravity Pages
PHILOSOPHICAL THEORIES ABOUT THE ORIGIN OF DEPRAVITY
I. Supralapsarian Calvinistic Theory. II. Imputation Theory. III. Sin in pre-existent life. IV.
Realistic Mode of Adamic Sin. Reflects on God and mocks reason. "Fooleries I" V. A lower form
of realism. VI. The representative mode of Adamic guilt. There was no such Federal Headship.
Other strictures. The doctrine against the Convicting work of Spirit. Pages 416-426.
GENETIC LAW OF DEPRAVITY
I. Definition. I. Sufficient account of depravity. 2. Sufficiency of the law.
3. Must be the true law. II. Doctrine of native demerit. Arminianism vs. Calvinism. Definitions of
actual sin. III. The state of infants. Godbey's prenatal justification, regeneration and sanctification.
Baptismal regeneration of babes taught by Augustine—a terrible legacy. All infants saved by
Christ. IV. Theological Inconsistencies of Methodist writers. Pages 427-438.